Nigeria’s problem is poor leadership at all levels – Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki

By Interview by Elvis Iruh
Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki
Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki

Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki is a medical practitioner based in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. He is also the State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). He is also a human rights activist whom voice is regularly heard on radio stations and read on pages of newspapers for his stand against poor governance and disregard for the common people of Nigeria. His involvement with activism according to him is to provide a voice for the yearning masses in his state in Nigeria. During this recent visit, the publisher of the Voice magazine sat with him on one to one interview on why he is not relenting on his criticism on the Ogun State government. He led a team recently again to have a talk with the new Governor of the state.

Dr. Alayki introductory statement says it all, “The poor leadership structure we have in Nigeria is the total sum of all the problems we are facing in the country today. We have leadership that has no interest to elevate the plight of the common masses in Nigeria. The politic elite are just interested in occupying positions of authority and make money for themselves. It is time that they either work for the improvement of the people or quit”. This assertion was made in this exclusive interview with the recently in Nigeria.

During the interview, Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki, the current chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Ogun state branch disclosed that those in government do not take kindly to any form of criticism which would have helped them to improve in areas they have not done well, rather they make quick fix solutions which on many occasions it is too little, too late or poorly executed.

I task them to evaluate whatever they are doing, if it is not a benefit to the common man, it is not a populace program. It is not a government project to please party loyalties or caucus; if what you are doing does not please the majority of the populace, it is a waste of resources and time.

He added that the activities of the government must touch majority of the people and then we can begin to say that the government has done very well.

He made mention of his State, Ogun state where the former Governor, Gbenga Daniel is presently on trial for misappropriation of funds meant for development of the State during his eight years tenure as Governor.

Gbenga Daniel would have enjoyed a good score card if he had provided roads, water, electricity, health care, education etc for the people instead of building elephant projects with huge sums of money but does not affect the lives of the ordinary people. Gbenga Daniel administration claimed they did so much but it did not affect the lives of the common man. To us, that is a failure. It is not enough; it is below expectation of what we were looking for in a government. We wanted a government that will touch the lives of the common man.

On his attacks on the former Governor Gbenga Daniel, when asked if it was a personal vendetta? This was his reply, “No, it was nothing personal. I would not lie to you; I could have gone down without saying anything when it comes to inducement or what have you. I convinced myself that it is not about me but the common man on the street. Whatever the government wants to do, let them do it for every one to see and benefit rather than individuals; for instance the issue of salary increment or better remuneration for doctors, it was for the wellbeing of everyone in society; if doctors are well paid, they would do their job more diligently instead of doctors running from state employment to federal employment because they pay better. We requested that doctors should be better paid, if the salaries of those working at the state level is at parallel with those at the federal, they would remain at their place of work. They would deliver better services for the people”.

According to Dr. Alayaki, the situation was terrible at the state health institutions; they were under staff, under paid and it was obvious that doctors would leave the state service. Every effort on our part to make the government address problem including a general strike did not help matters. What type f government is that? He asked.

His love for his people motivated him to establish treatment camps outside the hospital facilities and gave patients free medical treatment during the strike. In fact that gesture won him more admiration from the people.

In his words, I am not doing all of these for recognition or personal gains; my colleagues and myself are not being selfish and the people understood that; it was not about remuneration alone, but we were fighting for their own interest and welfare. If the condition of service is not improved in the first place, what we are demanding is within the capacity of the state government. We demand that they do it so that the public can benefit from it.

On his expectations of the new government under Governor Amosun; the medical doctor turned activitst said, we are watching but willing to give the State government a chance to settle down and deliver its promises to the people.

“Before this new Governor was elected, myself and our executive members met with him, we spoke, we discussed a lot of things and he gave us his words that he would do something about the health care situation in Ogun State and other infrastructures that we mentioned like roads, schools, water, electricity etc. He gives us regular opportunity to meet with him and listen to our advises; so we are waiting; if the Governor delivers on his promises, I would be in the forefront of those applauding the government so that Ogun state will be a leading state in health care and other areas in Nigeria. We are hoping that Governor Amosun will carry out those recommendations we gave to him.

When I asked him if he was not afraid for his life during the Gbenga Daniel administration with his attacks on the State Governor. He replied, “ What I know is that if you are saying the truth and the other part do not want to hear the truth, anything could happen. I would not lie to you, it is not a deterrent to me, I know that one way or the other we all are going to die one day. I am not looking for cheap publicity but I want a government that will benefit all the people of Ogun state and Nigeria in general. People do drive on the road and have accident and die so if you shy away from the truth for fear of death, you will still die one day. History will not forgive us if we cannot say the truth at any point in time for fear of death. If you are too timid to say the truth, it is our children and grand children who will suffer our inaction. People travel to Europe and America, they see good things there but we come back to our own country and we do things the opposite way. You have been in the country for some days now, how many times have you been able to put on electricity for 24 hours without interruption? And when you are back to your base in Europe, there is no power interruption. These are the things we are talking about; ideally they know what to do so why are they not doing it”

He concluded that with former Governor Gbenga Daniel on trail is a vindication that his criticism of his regime was legitimate. Rather than stealing our money and taking it abroad; look at what happened in Ogun state, we criticized the government of Gbenga Daniel; they said we were telling lies but with investigations on, he has been implicated on several charges of abuse of office and position in government. The EFCC should do a good job and bring these politicians to justice. We hope that the new government will not see us as a threat but listen to the voice of reasoning, vision and take wise advice and do the right things in Ogun State.

By Elvis Iruh, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Voice magazine ([email protected])